My wife and I are on this journey to support black-owned businesses. As you've probably seen me mention several times before in previous posts, my inspiration comes from Dr. Claude Anderson and Dr. Boyce Watkins. Black America's annual disposable income, or what the media calls "spending power", reached $1.6 trillion in 2021. I've heard Dr. Watkins say that if black people were to redirect just 10% of that $1.6 trillion into black-owned businesses, this would have a drastic positive impact on the black community and black wealth.
Whenever we decide to go out to eat, I first try to think if there's a black-owned business that we can support. This brings us to Rhythm Bar & Grill, which has been on my list to try out for some time now. Rhythm Bar & Grill is a small Jamaican restaurant tucked away at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. We would've never known this restaurant existed if it wasn't listed on the Virginia Black Business Directory. That's where I found it. It's one of the few Hampton Roads restaurants that I've seen listed on the VBBD. This is my Rhythm Bar & Grill Review.
We've been to Cutlass Grille many times before, which is one of my favorite restaurants to go to, so we wanted to try out a different Jamaican spot. Rhythm Bar & Grill is located on the first floor inside a 2 story shopping center called Pier Shops, which is on Atlantic Ave, and is one block away from the Oceanfront board walk. This is a great location for getting plenty of foot traffic, especially during tourist season and the warmer months of the year. I'm not quite sure what's going on inside of Pier Shops though. Maybe they are doing some renovation, because they had the access to going upstairs closed off.
If you're not familiar with the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, you will have to look around and pay for parking, which can be a hassle at times. Thankfully, there is a small parking lot directly across the street from the Pier Shop that we were able to park at. Parking is expensive because it cost us $20 to park there, and the attendant told us that this parking lot was one of the more cheaper parking lots at the Oceanfront.
For our entrees, I ordered the crab cakes with rice, beans, and cabbage. My wife had the Jamaican jerk chicken with rice, beans, and fried plantain. Both of our meals tasted great. We had some real Jamaican food and an authentic Jamaican experience. I've never tasted crab cakes made that way before, it was different but good. My sides, which were also good, looked and tasted differently than what I've had before. That's when my wife pointed out that the cabbage was fresh and the rice and beans were probably home made.
My wife told me that was the best Jamaican jerk chicken she's had. It reminded her of the Jamaican jerk chicken we ate every day when we visited Jamaica. I had a bite, and I concur. She enjoyed it so much that she was willing to drive all the way back to the Oceanfront the next day to have it again, and the Oceanfront is an hour drive for us from Suffolk.
Besides the great tasting food, the ambience also felt Jamaican. The Jamaican flag is proudly displayed in the restaurant, along with a picture of Bob Marley on the wall. They also had Jamaican music playing the whole time we were there. At times it was tough to understand our server because she was also Jamaican, and I loved it because it added to the restaurant's authenticity.
As I mentioned earlier, the restaurant is small. It has enough space to fit around 25 people. I saw 3 people working there: our server, someone working behind the counter, and the cook. They were all black of course. Hopefully, this restaurant will be around for a long time and get the opportunity to expand similar to Cutlass Grille, if they want to. They definitely would be able to attract more customers with their great tasting authentic Jamaican food.